I awoke to a text message. THE LOKI IS IN THE OVEN. This cryptic message meant the world to me. I had been using the prototype Pyranha Loki, both in the UK and Nepal and loved the boat. In Nepal the boat had been on loads of classic rivers, like the Sun Kosi, Bhote Kosi and Trisuli. I waited keenly for the production model.
So just as the boat came out of the oven I arrived at the Pyranha factory. It was a strange feeling, seeing the boat lying next to the Varun in the reception area. I say strange because it was the same feeling that you get when you bump into your ex –girlfriend in the street. We all know the awkwardness and then the mind races to all the fun times you had. You sort of forget that you drifted apart. In quiet times you then wonder what would happen if you had never split up?
Well that’s what the Loki is like. I was around in an Acro 300 at the birth of modern ‘rodeo’ and remember how we all said the 270 was far too short for running rivers – but things move on. My mind still tries to capture the feeling of my first smooth cartwheel and the joy of the first flatspin. I often wonder if I can ever regain that simple please.
So here I sit at the water’s edge pushing off into the slow flowing eddyline. I wonder will the Loki light my fire.
It’s a crisp smooth ride, not bouncy like the Molan. It is not as fast at the Z.one (what is) but is more subtle than the Varun. The Loki arcs back to the days of slicey, smooth rides – long slow cartwheels, eddyline moves that flow with the current – not the cork and bounce of the stubby short playboats. Sure the Loki is never going to win a freestyle content, you wouldn’t want it to. What you want from this boat (and what it gives you) is that inner smile, the feeling of dancing with the water, not fighting it. It is a boat that gives me the same feeling I had nearly 20 years ago. For this alone I am going to paddle this boat many-many more times. I’ve avoided modern freestyle boats for many years, they never seemed to offer much to my ‘ride’. This is all set to change now.
So is the Loki a freestyle boat?
I guess it is in the true sense. I will offer chances to ‘free’ ‘style’ most stretches of water. It loves eddylines, waves and holes but I guess what it is best at is the feeling of running the river, stopping at that long fast wave, the one that’s been too fast to catch in the short boat, and surfing. Perhaps making that attainment your could never make before, or that rock spin. This is the one boat I could run most of the classic rivers in, more speed than the Varun and more play than the Z.one. In the ocean surf, Skooks, Menai or Stanley it’s the boat to be seen in. Riding the Nile or Zam, sure thing. It is a boat that will appeal to a wide audience, without taking from the other designs in the range. If you remember when freestyle was rodeo, or want to paddle with your heart not because of a score card, then this is for you. For me this is a boat I have waited a long time for and I am glad I waited.